Sorry about the stupid formatting; Booksie decides to show a good edit, and then posts this crap!
Now where was he? Steve blinked in confusion as reality slowly came back to him. He was sitting inside a room that looked exactly like the Project Backwards room, but it couldn’t be, could it? It must be a delusion! Yet there was the time machine, looking real enough, with the wires and electronic sensors attached to him. It couldn’t be real; he was getting tired of Project Backwards, but had no control over it, so this must be a manifestation of his wanting out. Every time he met somebody from the past; he jumped and met somebody else. Mostly, he wished that he hadn’t, because the image of them he had in his mind often was proven wildly inaccurate upon meeting. Not only inaccurate, but they were dicks! Now he’d jumped into yet-another time line. Just then, the door to the office swung open, and a man strode into the room; a man who Steve recognized immediately; General Wells! Then he took another look at the room around him. Sure enough, it was the same room where he and Wells had launched Project Backwards; this was real! It had caught him by surprise because he must have been gone for weeks.
“Hello H.P., I never thought I’d see you again!”
“Steve, what in the hell are you talking about? I thought there was a knock at the door, but when I looked, no one was there, and I’ve only stepped away for maybe 20 seconds. I told you this hunk of s**t wouldn’t work!”
“What do you mean, 20 seconds? I’ve been gone several days, at least. And wouldn’t work? I suppose if you call meeting Napoleon, Neil Armstrong, Charles Lindbergh, Douglas MacArthur, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudolph Valentino, Raquel Welsh, Mozart, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, King George of England, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Jimmi Hendrix, Alexander Graham Bell, Jack the Ripper, and Benjamin Franklin not working, then yeah, it didn’t work.”
Speaking of Jack the Ripper, he should tell the authorities Jack the Ripper is...is...well s**t, he had forgotten. Damn!
“Well, unless you met all those people during the roughly last 20 seconds, it didn’t.”
“That’s the 2nd time you’ve mentioned 20 seconds; what’s up with that?”
“Yeah, I started the machine, and immediately came the knock on the door. It literally took about 20 seconds to answer the door, find nobody, and come back here. There is absolutely no way you could have met that many people; maybe one, but that would be just a quick hello.”
“I’m telling you, I’ve been gone for days!”
“Sure, whatever you say!”
“Everything I’ve told you is the absolute truth. And what about you meeting Mozart?”
“Mozart? Whatever you’re smoking, dude, must be some knarly s**t, man!”
“Fine, if you don’t believe me, you sit in this chair, and I’ll turn it on, and you’ll see I’m telling you the truth!”
“Give it up!”
“No, trade places with me; what are you, scared?”
“Scared? No, I think the only thing that damn machine did was mash potato your brains, but fine, if it’ll get you to drop your ludicrous claim about meeting and becoming Hitler’s pen-pal, or whatever, I’ll do it!”
“I never claimed I met Hitler, but maybe you will!”
“Bulls**t!” he said, but changed places with Steve. Once Steve had reached the control button, he said, “Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime, H.P!”
He pushed the button to activate the machine, and waited for things to happen. The General seemed to lose eye focus, and then his head slumped forward. It was working; now H.P. would see the truth! After what seemed to Steve to be only half a minute, H.P. stirred, and opened his eyes.
“Whoa, I see what you mean. I woke up in bed with a famous woman. It was Marie Antoinette; I couldn’t believe it!”
“See, I told you! What did she have to say?”
“She asked me ‘What the f**k are you doing in my bedroom? I’m the Queen of France; if you touch me, I’ll have your head cut off!’” No, nothing happened Numb-Nuts, the worthless hunk of s**t doesn’t work,” and he picked up an aluminum baseball bat he used for ‘The Project Backwards’ softball team, and took out his frustration on the hapless machine.
“Stop! Look what you’re doing to the time machine!”
“I-should-have-never-let-you-talk-me-in-to-trying-this-dumb-f**k-idea!” His words were separated by blows with the bat.
“Stop!” yelled Steve again, but the destruction continued, until at last the General’s fury subsided, and he stopped beating on the machine. The lump of crap that was left was spread across the floor; bits of metal and pieces of gauges were strewn everywhere.
A shocked Steve, who didn’t realize he was actually speaking, said in a whisper, “Well, that’s wrecked; thank goodness I wrote down exactly what I did, so I can build another one.”
“Ah, s**t! Do you mean those?” General Wells said, pointing to a pile of papers on Steve’s desk; and before Steve could stop him, Wells grabbed the pile of papers and ripped them to shreds.
“There, now this bitch of a project’s dead!”
Steve looked at the pile of now-useless metal and shredded-up papers, and his shoulders slumped. “Three years of work, gone!”
“You mean three years of a total waste; Imagine, three years of a lunatic hoovering up tax payer money!”
Steve pushed the welding goggles up, and decided it was pointless; He was going to start from scratch, but he had realized it was hopeless. There was no way he could remember all the steps that had enabled him to meet famous people from history. He would have to do all the research over again. And then, after three more years, there was no guarantee it would work again. He got depressed, thinking the world would never know about his unbelievable grand adventures! Then he thought,
I may not be able to build another time machine, but I can still write a book!
Steve started typing on his word processer, “My eyes slowly began to register light. I blinked my eyes rapidly, and...”